My Brother’s Keeper: Fostering Long-term Connections

Capital One joins forces with My Brother's Keeper to address opportunity gaps facing young men of color

Capital One joined forces with My Brother’s Keeper (MBK), an initiative launched by the Obama Foundation to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color.

This initiative partners with cities and towns, businesses, and foundations to build safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity.

Amid disruptions to connecting in person during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became imperative for the approximately 250 MBK Communities across the country to ensure that those transformative connections could continue growing.

“Just taking kids out to a basketball game and giving them an ice cream cone has very little long-term impact,” said Michael Smith, former Executive Director of My Brother's Keeper. “We’re working with My Brother’s Keeper organizations across the country to develop evidence-based mentoring practices. We’re creating a transformative mentoring space to create consistency and long-term commitments instead of having a revolving door in the life of a child who may already have been in foster care systems or other vulnerable situations.”

Capital One is helping sustain those efforts with a $1.3 million grant to support a myriad of MBK’s initiatives that aim to help close gaps in equity and help boys and young men of color gain better access to socioeconomic opportunity. That grant has also helped stand up the nearly 40 new MBK Communities that have joined the initiative since the summer of 2020.

Funding from Capital One helped support the launch of the MBK Equity Framework, which is designed so that existing and emerging MBK Communities and their partners can best address the conditions that boys and young men and their families face and reach a new standard of success.

The Framework is comprised of four components: a set of governing core values, a self-assessment that can help you measure your community’s progress in improving the lives of boys and young men of color, a roadmap and toolbox that provides resources and next steps based on your assessment result and a story map, which provides case studies and profiles of successful communities.

“Not only are we growing the number of communities that we’re supporting and making sure that they have the resources they need but we’re also trying to deepen the work that takes place there,” Smith said. “Capital One’s support is allowing us to do both of those things at a time when this work is crucially important.”

In addition to helping grow virtual mentoring opportunities, Capital One is supporting My Brother’s Keeper’s recently launched Reimagining Policing Pledge — a call for mayors and local officials to review and reform use-of-force policies, redefine public safety and combat systemic racism within law enforcement. 

Capital One's support comes as part of the Capital One Impact Initiative — an initial $200 million, multi-year commitment that strives to advance socioeconomic mobility. Launched in October 2020, the Capital One Impact Initiative seeks to create a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to prosper through advocating for an inclusive society, building thriving communities and creating financial tools that enrich lives.

“At Capital One, we believe that socioeconomic mobility starts from a place of inclusion and security,” says Costanza Tedesco, Managing Vice President of Retail Experiences and Awareness at Capital One. “We are proud to support My Brother’s Keeper and its commitment to fostering transformative long-term mentoring relationships to ensure that all people have an equal opportunity to prosper.”

Go deeper: Smith speaks to how My Brother’s Keeper is closing opportunity gaps through mentorship.

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